Senate President Debunks Allegation of $10m Bribe
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has described as false the $10 million bribe allegedly offered to members of the two chambers of the National Assembly to pass three per cent host community development fund, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has reported.
Lawan stated this while briefing State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.
The Senate president frowned on the way and manner that some citizens had been spreading fake news and misinformation against the National Assembly and the government.
An online news medium had reported that the leadership of the National Assembly had been allegedly accused of taking bribe to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
According to the online news medium, the Senate President, Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, were paid in dollars to ensure the passage of the PIB which was signed into law on August 16 by President Buhari.
However, the Senate president said: “People say anything or everything about the president, about the administration, about members of National Assembly, they call us names and this is part of the intangible dividends of democracy.
“But we are determined to ensure that the space is wide open for everybody to say whatever he wants to say.
“But I will advise that don’t say things that are bad because people are in the habit of … and recently somebody said $10 million was given to the Speaker and the Senate President to give to members of the National Assembly to pass three per cent host community development fund.
“That is funny, but also very serious. I really want to take this opportunity to take exceptions to those kinds of unwarranted, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public and the danger people will face with this is you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people.’’
Lawan recalled how he filled legal suit against someone (name withheld) who allegedly spread similar falsehood against him.
“I had an occasion to take someone to court because of this kind of thing about three months ago.
“But Nigerians are better judges than anywhere else. So, the freedom of expression is there, probably more than anywhere in the world, but I want to caution that Nigerians should always think positive about their leaders, administration and governments.
“And if they have issues they feel very strongly about, let them speak the truth and we are prepared to tell corrections, and that we feel should be able to make us do better,’’ he added.
On the massive surrender of Boko Haram insurgents, Lawan expressed satisfaction with the new strategies adopted by the armed forces and other security agencies in tackling insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.
He said the massive surrender by members of the Boko Haram sect was a clear indication that the war against insurgency would soon be over.
He, however, cautioned that the repentant insurgents should be properly screened.
“I’m sure the new strategies by the current leadership of the armed forces are working.
“Boko Haram, having lost its leader and probably having lost so many commanders, some of them think they should just throw in the towel.
“Therefore, it’s one of those success stories of the fight against insurgency in the North-east,’’ he added.
Lawan disclosed that his meeting with the president also touched on 2022 budget proposal, activities of the Buni-led Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as the need to complete some legacy projects by the Buhari administration.